A former Syrian diplomat who accused Israeli officials of trafficking children's organs is now working as a professor at state-funded Rutgers University in New Jersey, The Algemeiner has learned.
Mazen Adi, an adjunct professor in Rutgers' Political Science Department, worked for Syria's foreign ministry in various roles for 16 years starting in August 1998, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Most recently, between January 2007 and July 2014, Adi served as a diplomat and legal adviser at the Permanent Mission of Syria to the United Nations in New York. He represented the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as it met pro-democracy protesters with lethal force in 2011, sparking a conflict that has left an estimated 465,000 people dead or missing.
By the time Adi left Turtle Bay, the Assad regime had faced years of international opprobrium and sanctions, having been accused of perpetrating atrocities including mass killings, systematic torture, forced starvation and chemical weapons attacks.
Adi voiced Assad's views — and occasionally those of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — at both the UN Security Council and Sixth Committee of the General Assembly. Among his comments, found in UN records from 2008 to 2011, were allegations that Israel systematically targeted civilians, destroyed the environment and buried alive enemy soldiers; that Syria was a "trailblazer" in the fight against terrorism; and that Assad was committed to seeking a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict and implemented "sweeping reforms" following popular protests.
While representing Syria during a Security Council meeting in April 2012, Adi claimed, according to a translation by a UN interpreter, that "international gangs led by some Israeli officials are now trafficking children's organs."
In an appearance in New York City that October, Adi said that opposition groups seek "to destroy Syria," and lamented that "this is not democracy."
"Democracy," he explained, is "if you go to the ballot box. We say all the time, and the president said, and everybody said, if we have an election and the president does not win, he will leave."
"But I think it is the responsibility of the president, or of any government, not to leave," Adi added. "You cannot leave the country, and leave it to whom? To those groups? Nobody knows those groups."
Assad ran unopposed and won his first two presidential elections in 2000 and 2007 with 99.7% and 97.6% of the vote, respectively. He won his third presidential term in 2014 with 88.7% of the vote, facing off against two other candidates. All three elections were widely criticized as illegitimate by international observers.
Adi is set to teach a class on international criminal law and anti-corruption at Rutgers in spring 2018. He has led courses in the university's master's degree program in UN and Global Policy Studies since September 2015, including on "extremism, violence and political change" and "theories of terrorism and counter-terrorism," according to his university biography.
While Adi's profile notes that he worked "as a career diplomat and legal advisor for 16 years' experience both in bilateral and multilateral relations," it contains no mention of the Assad regime.
A former student of Adi's, who spoke to The Algemeiner on condition of anonymity, claimed that the former diplomat defended Palestinian terrorism in class as a legitimate form of "resistance" to Israeli "occupation."
Hillel Neuer — head of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch — told The Algemeiner, "It ought to be a matter of profound concern that an American university would allow an apologist for the Syrian regime's genocide to be a teacher."
"When the United Nations debated Syria's culpability for bombing its own people, Mazen Adi said that the Syrian authorities 'upheld all their legal and judicial responsibilities,'" Neuer went on to say. "He is a liar and an apologist for mass murder."
Adi and a spokesperson for Rutgers did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
This is not the first that a Rutgers professor has accused Israel of participating in the illicit organ trade — a charge Israeli officials say is unsubstantiated and amounts to a modern-day blood libel.
Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers, repeated allegations at a 2016 Vassar College event that the bodies of "young Palestinian men ... were mined for organs for scientific research," according to a transcript of the talk provided by the Vassar alumni group Fairness To Israel.
Puar — who also called for "armed resistance in Palestine" — wrote in a 2015 essay that "Palestinian trauma is overshadowed" because "Israel in particular and Jewish populations in general have thoroughly hijacked the discourse of trauma through exceptionalizing Holocaust victimization."
Her latest work, published through Duke University Press this month, argues that Israel seeks to injure and maintain "Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them."
Last month, it was reported that Michael Chikindas — a microbiology professor at Rutgers who also heads the school's Center for Digestive Health — published and shared dozens of antisemitic posts on social media, some of which blamed the Armenian genocide on Jews and described Judaism as "the most racist religion in the world." His invective frequently extended to Israel — with multiple posts endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign — and also included sexist and homophobic rhetoric.
Rutgers denounced Chikindas' postings after they were exposed, and launched an investigation to determine whether actions he took "in the context of his role as a faculty member" violated university policy.